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Crop Biotech Update

CRISPR Reveals the Role of SlMPK20 Protein in Tomato Pollen Development

April 25, 2018

Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) regulate plant growth. However, their role in plant reproductive development remains unknown. The team from Zhejiang University in China recently discovered the role of SlMPK20, an MAPK, in pollen development in tomato (Lycopersicum esculenta).

Knock-out of SlMPK20 via CRISPR-Cas9 editing completely eliminated pollen viability in the gene-edited tomato plants with no effects on female fertility. Further analysis found that SlMPK20 plays a role during microgametogenesis. Transcriptomic and proteomic analyses also revealed that knockout of SlMPK20 significantly reduced the expression of a large number of genes controlling sugar and auxin metabolism and signaling in anthers.

These results reveal that SlMPK20 specifically regulates pollen development through modulating sugar and auxin metabolism and signaling.

For more information, read the article in The New Phytologist.